Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.
Allow me to be your guide... and discover the history of Oxford with an Oxford historian.
I offer a wide range of guided walks around the city and university. These can be a general introduction to the history and architecture or looking at specific themes and subjects.
I am a Catholic and a historian based in Oxford, where I am a member of Oriel College. My research, for a long delayed D.Phil., is a study of Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln in the second decade of the fifteenth century. I also work as a freelance tutor in History and as an independent tour guide.
I was received into the Church in 2005 and am a Brother of the External Oratory of St Philip Neri at the Oxford Oratory.
Last Saturday I went with a friend to the Mass for the Saturday in the Ember Week at the Catholic church in Caversham. This is the present shrine church for devotion to Our Lady of Caversham, a revived and restored place of pilgrimage, which appears to have originated as such soon after the Norman Conquest.
I went in 2013 to this liturgy and it was a pleasure to be able to do so again. On this occasion the celebrant of the High Mass was Fr Anthony Conlon, assisted by Fr Ian Verrier FSSP as Deacon and Rev. Keith Crocker as Sub-Deacon.
The journey to and from Caversham as well as the Mass itself and the opportunity to pray at the Shrine of Our Lady madce this a most enjoyable way to spend part of Saturday.
The previous Wednesday I had been able to attend the Ember Day Mass at SS Gregory and Augustine in north Oxford.
There are online articles about the Ember Days and their historyfrom Wikipedia at Ember days and from the Catholic Encyclopedia at Ember Days - New Advent
Such quarterly days of prayer and fasting, one for each of the seasons, and originating in the harvests of the Mediterranean world seem an eminently laudable practice. The loss from the modern calendar of such ancient custom, a casualty of liturgical change, seems pointless. One might well ask why they were not retained as seasonal fasting days of prayer, and why they should not br reintroduced, rather than left to the EF Missal and groups such as the Ordinariate.